January 2014

A monthly means to inform and inspire our TEAM

January 2014
Vol. 5, No. 1

EMBLEM Study Status Update, Staff Meeting, and Cancer Research Methods Workshop

Emblem investigators at Aortic

KEMRI Campus at Kisumu

Building on the momentum gained at the EMBLEM workshop held during the ninth AORTIC Conference held in Durban South Africa in November 2013, EMBLEM has embarked on a plan to hold a Study Status Update, Staff Meeting, and Cancer Research Methods Workshop in Kisumu, Kenya in September 2014. The meeting provides a timely opportunity to review and follow up on ideas presented by Ms. Detra Robinson (from Westat) about forming a Burkitt Lymphoma Consortium in Africa to strengthen regional and continental collaboration on Burkitt Lymphoma. According to Ms. Robinson, BL is a rare disease, so it is difficult for any one study to achieve sufficient sample size for definitive results. A consortium approach, which is now widely adopted in developed countries, provides a simple and intuitive mechanism for multiple studies to combine efforts and data resulting in more robust analyses, replication, and shared capacity building. Building on the experience gained during the EMBLEM meeting in Mwanza, Tanzania in 2012, this year’s meeting will be hosted by, among others, Moi University and the Kenya Medical Research Institute, two of EMBLEM’s leading collaborating institutions in Kenya.

In contrast to the meeting in 2012, this year’s meeting will seek to build bridges with AORTIC through joint collaboration through a capacity building workshop with the AORTIC Hematology Oncology Research Group in Kisumu. Stay tuned in the months ahead for more details.

Esther Kawira, Editor

EMBLEM UGANDA

Monitoring team alongside EMBLEM and Kuluva hospital administrators after the monitoring exercise

Monitoring team alongside EMBLEM and Kuluva hospital
administrators after the monitoring exercise

A total of 461 potential cases (291 males, 170 females) have been spotted. After screening, 263 (163 males, 100 females) were eligible and 243 were consented and enrolled. Study monitoring visits were performed at Kuluva Hospital on the 19th and 20th of December (photo at left). Samples (1800 vials) were transferred under liquid nitrogen from Kuluva and Lacor EMBLEM labs to the Uganda Virus Research Institute during the week of December 15th to 20th , 2013.

EMBLEM KENYA

EMBLEM staff load samples into liquid nitrogen tank at Homabay

EMBLEM staff load samples into liquid nitrogen
tank at Homabay

A total of 297 potential cases (187 males, 110 females) have been spotted. After screening, 117 (79 males, 38 females) were eligible and 107 were consented and enrolled.

For the first time, EMBLEM samples, processed and stored at Homa Bay Lab, were transferred to the AMPATH Lab in Eldoret under liquid nitrogen (see picture below). This development was exciting both for EMBLEM and AMPATH labs staff because it was the first time both groups have used liquid nitrogen. It goes without saying that it was a relief to both groups when the activity was completed without incident.

In addition, EMBLEM has strengthened its collaboration with AMPATH to include support with receiving, processing and storage of samples collected at Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital as well as at Webuye District Hospital. AMPATH will also provide long-term storage services until samples are shipped to the NCI.

EMBLEM TANZANIA

Dr. Kebwe

Dr. Kebwe

A total of 322 potential cases (180 males, 142 females) have been spotted. After screening, 74 (43 males, 31 females) were eligible and 69 were consented and enrolled.

In mid January, EMBLEM Tanzania CAB member, Dr. Kebwe (at right), Member of Parliament from Serengeti District in Mara Region (part of EMBLEM Study area), was appointed Deputy Minister of Health for the United Republic of Tanzania. EMBLEM is proud to have his support.

EMBLEM GOALS

EMBLEM monitors actual BL accrual rates against historical rates averaged over 10 years before EMBLEM commenced. The graph below shows trends from February through December 2013. Uganda generally accrued cases above historical rates; Tanzania accrued cases below historical rates, while Kenya accrual is rising above historical rates. Monitoring actual versus historical accrual rates helps EMBLEM teams to review and adjust their fieldwork strategies.

Click to enlarge.


EMBLEM Newsletter is a monthly on-line publication based on contributions of the EMBLEM Study staff.
Editor: Dr. Esther Kawira
Reporters: EMBLEM Uganda – Esther Birungi; EMBLEM Kenya – Pam Akinyi Were; EMBLEM Tanzania – Josiah Magatti